The Portstewart Wheel that made its debut to Portstewart last month will turn for the last time as the town prepares for its biggest week of the year with a diverse range of entertainment centered on the Promenade with live music, culture, dance, competitions and ending with a spectacular firework show all organised by Portstewart Community Association supported by Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council and the Department For Communities.
From 110m in the air, you were able to take in breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean as well as enjoying a birdseye view of the Portstewart Promenade but with over 90 objections and having an application to be heard at planning for an extension, Portstewart will have to say goodbye to the wheel in less than two weeks.
A spokesperson for the panoramic wheel in Portstewart said ‘It is a massive pity that our wheel will turn for the last time on the 21st July 2019 which is the start of the Red Sails Festival. The support from traders, community and media etc has been awesome but we find it disappointing that the council could not take their requests for a small extension onboard and have planning heard retrospectively as is often the case.’
The wheel is due to return to the North Coast next month at ‘Live at the beach’ in Portrush.’
Speaking to Causeway Coast Community Councillor Mark Fielding said ‘ The 28 day rule is in place for the wheel because Planning Approval beyond that period is not in place; as the next Council Planning Committee Meeting to consider the Temporary Planning Application is the 28 August – and as there are more than 5 objections the application would automatically come before the Committee.
The Question is and will be asked by both the Community and visitors to the town – why is the Wheel due to come down on the busiest tourist week of the year – the Red Sails Festival?
The Operator of the Wheel was unwisely advised to install the wheel the week before the beginning of July; had it went in at the beginning of July the 28-day rule would have extended over the period of the very popular Community Red Sails Festival.
I acknowledge there are a number of objections whose concerns are noted, however, most people have expressed the view that it is a welcome addition to the tourist value of Portstewart and is supported by the Portstewart Community Association and Portstewart Traders Association; one must remember it is only temporary for the summer period.
The council also benefits from the wheel as the Operator of the Wheel has also been charged quite a hefty fee for the use of the land compared to other Councils even when it is for longer periods with those Councils.